Invitation to the Dr Stuart John Saunders Lecture

26 April 2018 | From the VC’s Desk

Dear colleagues and students

I am delighted to invite you to the first-ever annual lecture to be held in honour of Dr Stuart Saunders, former vice-chancellor and chair of medicine at the University of Cape Town. Titled “The epidemic of cardiovascular disease in the developing world: global implications”, this lecture will be presented by Professor Bernard Gersh.

The Dr Stuart John Saunders Lecture was made possible by his late wife, Anita Johanna Saunders, who intended to honour the values demonstrated during Dr Saunders’ 15 years as vice-chancellor (1981–1996) and his cutting-edge medical research. In Dr Saunders’ book Vice-Chancellor on a Tightrope: A personal account of climactic years in South Africa, his higher education legacy is described as “not just tied to the dynamic leadership he gave to making the University of Cape Town an innovator in teaching and research … but to the dogged way in which he pushed the boundaries of an apartheid state to create space for higher education to rise to its responsibility.”

Under his leadership, UCT’s residences were opened to students of all races, a move that challenged the status quo during a time of segregation, thereby creating a space for intellectual debates in an intolerant society. He is also credited with putting an end to the racially segregated training of medical registrars, and for initiating fundraising among South African universities to ensure their academic freedom, as well as meaningful service to science and to the “rainbow nation”.

The maiden lecture will be presented by Professor Gersh, a leading researcher in cardiovascular disease (CVD) with a keen interest in the epidemiology of CVD in the developing world. He is a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in the United States and a consultant in CVD and internal medicine. He has also made significant contributions to the understanding of acute and chronic coronary artery disease, clinical electrophysiology, sudden cardiac death and cardiac stem cell therapy. He has an honorary professorship in the Department of Medicine at UCT.

In his lecture, Professor Gersh will highlight the global epidemic of CVDs, illustrating the magnitude of its increased prevalence in low- and middle-income countries and also analyse the potential consequences for the developed world. Furthermore, he will ask why CVD remains relatively low on the global health agenda even though it remains one of the leading causes of death – surpassing deaths due to malaria, HIV or AIDS, and tuberculosis.

When: Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Where: Lecture Theatre 2, Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, University of Cape Town

Time: 18:00 (pre-drinks to be served at 17:00; guests to be seated by 17:45)

RSVP: Please confirm your attendance online by Friday, 4 May 2018.

For further information, please email or phone 021 650 4847.

Due to limited space, seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


Dr Max Price

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